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Woody Guthrie: 1913 Massacre – True Story Of Labor Vs The Corp

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February 28, 2011: Steven John Hibbs / The Tonka Report (TTR) - February 28, 2011

This piece was cobbled together by TTR… - SJH

The Italian Hall Disaster (sometimes referred to as the 1913 Massacre) is a tragedy that occurred on December 24, 1913 in Calumet, Michigan.

Seventy-three men, women, and children, mostly striking mine workers and their families, were crushed to death in a stampede when someone falsely yelled “fire” at a crowded Christmas party.

Background

The Calumet and Hecla Mining Company (“C&H”) was formed from the consolidation of the Calumet and Hecla mining companies in 1871. C&H was the single largest copper mining company in Michigan’s copper country, which includes Copper Island. One of the longest strikes in the copper country took place in 1913, and included all the C&H mines.

The Western Federation of Miners first established a local in the area in 1908 but it wasn’t until 1913 that the WFM had a large enough membership to effectively strike. At the time, there were perhaps 15,000 men working in the mines and the WFM claimed 9,000 of them as members. The membership voted in favor of demanding union recognition from management, and asking “for a conference with the employers to adjust wages, hours, and working conditions in the copper district of Michigan.”

The membership also voted to “declare a strike” if management refused to “grant a conference or concessions.” After the vote was held, the WFM sent letters to the mines demanding the conference; the mine managers refused the request and the strike was called on July 23, 1913. The strike would not end until April, 1914; the miners and the mines were still at a standoff at Christmas, 1913, in a strike that was then five months old.

The Disaster

On Christmas Eve many of the striking miners and their families had gathered for a Christmas party sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Western Federation of Miners.[4] It is estimated that there were over five hundred people at the party, which was held on the second floor of Calumet’s Italian Hall. A steep stairway was the only way to the second floor, although there was a poorly-marked fire escape on one side of the building and ladders down the back of the building which could only be reached by climbing through the windows.

The tragedy began when someone yelled “Fire!”; there was none. However, people panicked and rushed for the stairs. In the ensuing melee, seventy-three people (including fifty-nine children) were killed. To date there has been much debate about who cried “fire” and why. The most common theory is that “fire” was called out by an anti-union ally of mine management in order to disrupt the party…

 [read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Hall_disaster]

Woody Guthrie – 1913 Massacre

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: This is for the Wisconsin protesters as the screws get tightened- SJH

Wisconsin Governor Bolting Windows Shut To Starve Out Protesters

http://www.squattable.com/news/022811/walker-losing-control-and-getting-desperate-bolting-windows-shut-starve-out-protesters 

Additional source: http://whatreallyhappened.com/

Link to original video below…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oz7oguguIZE&feature=player_embedded

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